EFSA: Zeolite reduces milk fever in cows
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Additives and
Products or Substances used in Animal Feed (FEEDAP) was asked to issue an
opinion on the safety of Zeolite (sodium aluminosilicate, synthetic) when used
to reduce the risk of milk fever in dairy cows.
In its former opinion on Zeolite, the FEEDAP Panel stated
that Zeolite has the potential to reduce the risk of milk fever.
Recent data confirm this conclusion, particularly for older cows with three or
Zeolite gradually prevents the decrease in serum calcium
occurring after calving. Although only 500 g per day Zeolite was shown to
significantly reduce milk fever incidence, a dose range of 250 to 500 g per day
(approximately 25 to 50 g/kg complete feed) may be realistic under field
Feed intake suffers
The use of doses higher than
500 g of Zeolite leads to a dramatic depression of feed intake. Even the
effective dose reduces feed intake and induces hypophosphataemia; however, these effects are considered
Zeolite may reduce serum Mg but this is without physiological
significance. Serum levels of copper and zinc as well as milk yield and
composition are not affected by Zeolite treatment.
The FEEDAP Panel
· the observed side effects after a
two-week treatment with Zeolite do not have long lasting consequences on health
of dry cows, that
· aluminum from Zeolite does not
lead to any safety concern for the dairy cow provided that the appropriate use
level and duration are followed, and that
treatment of the dry cow does not result in adverse effect in
Safe aluminium levels
Milk aluminum concentration was
not affected by the use of Zeolite, but serum aluminum significantly
The FEEDAP Panel concludes that,
considering the range of aluminum found in commercial milk samples,
treatment of dry cows with Zeolite will not measurably increase consumer
exposure to aluminum.
· the use of Zeolite to reduce
the risk of milk fever does not pose a risk for the environment.
FEEDAP Panel eventually gives some recommendations for the new entry on the use
of Zeolite to reduce the risk of milk fever and on how this could be
consequently introduced in the existing legislation on feedingstuffs for
particular nutritional purposes.
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